Alternative Credentials


Alternative credentials are non-traditional forms of certification or recognition that validate skills and knowledge gained through various educational and experiential pathways. These credentials offer flexible options for individuals to showcase their expertise and competency in specific fields without necessarily completing a traditional degree program.


1. Certificates

Certificates are focused, short-term programs that provide specialized training in a specific subject area. They are often offered by universities, colleges, or professional organizations and typically require fewer credits or hours of study compared to a degree program. The School of Professional Studies offers several certificates and more for professional or self-improvement.


  • Project Management Certificate
  • Digital Marketing Certificate
  • Data Science Certificate

2. Badges

Digital badges are visual representations of skills and achievements earned by individuals through online courses, workshops, or experiential learning. They can be displayed on social media profiles, resumes, or personal websites, providing a quick and easily recognizable way to demonstrate competency in a particular skill.


  • Adobe Photoshop Badge
  • Microsoft Excel Badge
  • Leadership Skills Badge

3. Microcredentials

Microcredentials are small, targeted learning programs that focus on specific skills or competencies within a broader field. They are often offered online and can be completed in a relatively short amount of time, making them ideal for professionals looking to upskill or reskill in a particular area.


  • Coding Bootcamp
  • UX Design Workshop
  • Financial Literacy Course

4. Industry Certifications

Industry certifications are credentials awarded by professional organizations or governing bodies to individuals who demonstrate proficiency in a particular industry or field. These certifications are often required or preferred by employers and can enhance job prospects and earning potential.


  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

5. Military Credit

Military credit refers to the recognition of military training, experience, and coursework for academic credit toward a degree program. Charlotte has policies in place to evaluate and award credit for military service, allowing veterans and active-duty service members to expedite their educational pursuits and transition smoothly into civilian careers.

Examples of military credit may include:

  • Credit for military occupational specialties (MOS) or job training
  • Credit for military experience and leadership roles
  • Credit for completion of military courses or exams (e.g., CLEP, DSST)


Charlotte recognizes the value of alternative credentials and may accept them for credit transfer, advanced standing, or even as substitutes for certain degree requirements. If you have experiential credentials similar to those mentioned above, share them with your advisor and the Office of the Registrar. Whether you obtained your credential at Charlotte or elsewhere, you might find it applicable to your desired degree program at Charlotte.

In summary, alternative credentials offer diverse pathways for individuals to acquire and demonstrate skills and knowledge in their chosen fields. Whether through certificates, badges, microcredentials, or industry certifications, these non-traditional forms of recognition provide valuable opportunities for lifelong learning and professional development.